|Beams carry weight across spans that are too long for joists, I-joists or floor trusses to carry.|
With so much riding on the quality of the framing, it's critical that home builders take quality assurance into their own hands. Because of the way their companies are structured, Giant home builders rely heavily on framing contractors to provide a structurally sound, high-quality framing system.
"In general, building inspectors look for code compliance, but not necessarily for construction quality," says Bruce Dickson, Building Services Project Manager for IBACOS, where he specializes in field assessments in construction quality for home builders. "It's up to your construction team to make sure that every home is framed per the plans and specifications and lives up to the quality standards of your company."
A framing system that meets building code has achieved the minimal requirements dictated by law, but code doesn't require builders to ensure certain quality factors. "For example, even if the framing job meets code, if the joists are poorly installed, they can cause cosmetic problems, such as visible ridges in the flooring. Bowed wall studs can make the drywall uneven. Misaligned roof trusses can make the exterior roofing uneven," says Dickson.
Do your site superintendents know how to ensure that a particular system in your homes, such as the framing, meets high standards of quality? One best practice for your team to follow is to take a process-driven approach to all stages of construction.
|Sill plates provide a mouting surface for the floor structure.|
All of the framing components work together to provide a stable floor system. It's hard to ensure quality without understanding how the floor system is designed to work. Your site superintendents should understand the basic concepts behind building a structurally sound floor system.
• Floors Carry Weight. Picture a small kid balancing on one leg atop an aluminum soda can. The lightweight soda can is actually able to hold up under the kid's weight. But if someone comes by and dents the aluminum can even slightly, the can will be crushed under the weight, sending the kid tumbling to the floor.
An aluminum soda can is able to support a surprising amount of weight. "That's because its symmetrical shape transfers that weight down to the floor. Using this same principle of weight transfer, a floor system remains stable under the weight of grand pianos, marble bathtubs, refrigerators and large house parties. If even one element of the floor framing system is missing or is poorly installed, the floor's stability is compromised," Dickson explains. That's not to say that the entire floor will buckle as easily as an aluminum soda can, but missing or misaligned framing components can lead to performance issues that your customers will notice.
All of your site superintendents should understand how the floor system is designed to carry and transfer weight downward to the ground supporting the home. Even if the floor system is designed to be structurally sound, if it isn't installed per the design specifications, it might not perform as expected. It's possible that the floor will squeak in places when the homeowner walks across it. Clearly, a squeaking floor won't make customers happy. Construction quality details like this one are directly related to customer satisfaction.
|Cantilevers are part of the floor system that project out from the structure of the home.|
When the homeowner walks across the floor, the joists deflect, or bend slightly. Joists that deflect too much will make the floor feel bouncy or spongy when the homeowner walks across it. Per most codes, the floor joists shouldn't deflect more than 1/2 inch every 15 feet of span. But higher quality designs actually limit deflection to 1/2 inch every 20 feet of span, because that level of deflection is too small for homeowners to notice.Key issues involved with floor framing methods
There are three ways to build a floor system: using dimensional-lumber joists, using I-joists and using floor trusses. Each of these three methods has special installation issues. Your site superintendents should be familiar with these issues so they can avoid installation errors during floor construction.
|Rough openings are created to accommodate interior items such as chimney boxes and stair cases.|
Each stage of construction, from the foundation to the drywall, has key issues that affect quality. Here are some of the key quality issues your site superintendents should confirm when they're checking floor systems.
Even though your customers can't see the framing system, they can experience the problems that result from poorly installed framing, like squeaky floors and uneven drywall. Each stage of construction involves potential problems that your construction teams can prevent by following a process-driven approach. Don't risk your customers' satisfaction. Be sure your site superintendents follow a process-driven approach to all stages of construction. Make sure they understand how each system in the home works, the different ways to implement the system, and the key issues that affect quality in that system.